Come to Jesus

I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD. How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood. Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.Psalms 40:1-5

Praise-06-782013_thumb.jpgOh Father I know that I have not always been patient in this process of healing. But you have heard my cries, and in your own time you have continued to work through the “all things” and set my feet on the Rock! You have helped me climb out of the pit, and you’ve dragged me out of the miry clay.

Jesus I praise you!

I worship Your name, for you have rescued those who are brokenhearted. You have healed the broken, the wounded and the hurting. I will trust in You and not fear. I will not give the enemy any more power over my thoughts. I will no longer believe his lies, for now I know truth. Oh God the works that you have performed in my heart are truly amazing. You’ve reached down, held me in your arms, healed my brokenness…nothing compares to Your healing touch!

I praise You with a new song!

My dear precious sisters Jesus can heal all your brokenness. He came to set you free from the bondage of your past hurts.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners. Is 61:1

He will rebuild that which was ruined. He will repair that which was broken. He will restore that which has been desolate for generations.

Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. (Is 61:4)

My precious sisters – Come to Jesus for healing….

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A Father’s Love

a-fathers-love_thumb.jpgEven before I was born I was loved deeply and very precious to my Father. The moment He fashioned me He fell in love. He had never seen anyone so beautiful. His beloved daughter. Tears fell down His eyes as He held me, His precious daughter. He watched me grow; I made Him laugh with the silly things I’d do. My tender heart caused Him to smile. How beautiful I was in His eyes.

There was also a sharp pain in His heart as He watched me, for He also knew what was to come. He knew I would not understand what was to be apart of my life. At such a tender age it would seem that people would want to destroy me. My Father would weep for the pain and suffering I would endure. He knew He had the power to stop my suffering; a suffering that would leave me numb and lost. He understood because His Son had suffered an even greater suffering for the sins of all mankind.

My Father knew I would someday grow to understand the suffering of His Son because of what I would suffer. I would see His suffering and understand the pain and the torment He went through to no fault of His own. He knew I would see the hope, and the beauty in His suffering. His beauty would then reflect in my face.

During my suffering I would feel so alone and abandoned. I felt alone not because He was not there, but because I could not see. I was blind to the truth of Him. I did not see that He had His arms wrapped so tightly around me, loving me.

As evil took over my body tears would run down His face, He would weep loudly and painfully. His groans would be so loud that all of heaven could hear. He would feel all my pain. He would feel the tearing of my soul and the tears that would not come. “Vengeance is mine He’ll cry!” “You will not destroy her! For out of evil I will create beauty. Out of ashes I will create a garland.” “Oh my child, I will not leave you.”

As I sit on His lap tears run down His face. He knows that His precious little girl will walk through years of pain that she will not understand until she is grown. He held her tightly and whispered, “My Beloved, I love you, I will walk with you.”

 

Originally written on Quiet Reflection in 2008.

You are Beloved

What truth are you believing today about who you are? Do you see yourself through the eyes of abuse, guilt, shame, sin or do you see your self through the eyes of God’s love?

I know sometimes it is hard. It’s hard to see the lies. You have looked in the mirror your whole life and heard the words,

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“you are unlovable”

“you are not worthy”

“you are not good enough”

“you have nothing to offer”

 

You have heard them and spoke them so many times that they sound like truth. They are words that SEEM like truth. But my dear friends they are lies. They are horrible, ugly lies that have been spoken over you.

Today acknowledge them as lies. Speak truth into those lies. Do not allow them to have one more minute of power over you.

Begin to speak truth to yourself today. Truth is found in the word of God. It can be trusted. Begin today with these truths…..

He called you BELOVED when you were not beloved. Rom 9:28

You are precious in His sight, Since you are honored and He loves you. Isaiah 43:4

You are so precious to Him that He collects your tears in a bottle. Psalms 56:8

… And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5

 

Believe them. Walk in them. As a child of God you have a right to claim them and hold on to them. They are truths written for you.

I am Prone to Wander

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? Luke 15:4

Through the years God has shown me the truth of this passage over and over. It seems that for many years my heart was prone to wander greatly. (and at times it can still be prone to do so). But recently I have been reflecting on the truth that God will “never leave nor forsake us” and He brought a life changing event to mind that helped me finally take this truth from my head to my heart.

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At the age of 20 I was not married and pregnant. I hadn’t told anyone for I planned to abort. I was talking with my pastor and for reasons only God know he came right out and asked me if I was pregnant. I had to tell him yes.

He shared his  disappointment but never did he make me feel ashamed. He shared with me God’s willingness to forgive. Over the next few weeks this pastor would call me, but I did my best to ignore the calls. He came by the house, but I pretended I wasn’t home. Then he showed up at my place of employment. He was relentless. He wasn’t going to leave me alone until I talked to him.

For nine months this pastor pursued me to make sure I was okay, that I was not continuing to live in sin. He offered advice, support and a loving heart. He prayed for me and with me, even in those times when I really did not feel like praying. He showed me Christ. And when so many were ignoring and judging me, he modeled the love of Christ.

To this day I believe it is due to his persistence that I am walking with the Lord. Toward the end of my pregnancy I rededicated my life to Christ. I left that path of destruction I was on and chose to follow God with my whole heart.

It was not easy, being a single mom, but God through His amazing Grace and Mercy brought me a godly man when my son was only 11 months old.

God has often used this mans faithfulness in modeling Christ to my mind when I am struggling to believe that God could really love me when, once again, I failed. He uses this man’s example when I look at my sin and think “God is done with me now, there is no more mercy.” Or “He’s not going to forgive this same sin again and again!” God reminds me He will pursue me in an even greater way. He does not give up.

Why does He continue to pursue me when I so easily wander from the flock? Because He loves me, forgives,  is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and He said that He will never forsake me. (Neh 9:17)

He also says to me

“Be strong and courageous, and act ; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.  (1 Chron 28:20)

…for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” Heb 13:5b

“What do you think ? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying ? “If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.Matt 18:12-13

I may be prone to wander at times but my great Shepherd will always pursue me in order to bring me back to where I belong.

Oh Father how thankful I am for the examples you have given me to remind me that You will never leave or forsake me. I am Yours and You will pursue me just as You pursue all Your sheep. Whether they are lost or wandering, they are Yours and nothing will pluck them from your hands. Keep my heart close to Yours, help me to be obedient and here Your voice. Do what is necessary in order to keep my heart from wandering from Your perfect will.

I Cried for You Today

(Originally posted in 2008 on http://www.Quiet-Reflections.com)
Recently God has allowed women to come across my path through this blog world that my heart bonded with because of similar life experiences. Today I sat and read the stories of two more women and my heart could not take anymore.

I sat and cried, for over an hour I cried. I cried for their pain. I cried for their loss of innocence at such early ages. I cried for the fear they felt. I cried for their aloneness. I cried for their loss of childhood. I cried for the tears they could not cry, the security they did not feel and the love they did not know.

LL0000A261I cried and mourned for all of the little girls who have had innocence taken from them so early in life. I mourned for those precious baby girls who would know evil in such a personal way that many will never have to know. Evil that penetrates body, soul, mind and emotions.

And then I became angry. I was angry at the evil these women have had to endure as precious little girls. At the hopelessness they have felt. I was angry at mothers who knew and yet kept their silence or did not believe.

As I sat there unable to sort through all the emotions of these lives I called my sister (spiritual sister). As I sat there talking with her through my tears I was able to see that while I mourned their losses, God had given me a beautiful gift. He has allowing me to mourn the losses of my childhood. I had not mourned quite like this before. This was good. This was more healing, deeper healing.

My counselor has tried to get me to go here. To admit the losses and to mourn them. She keeps telling me it’s ok to mourn, but I could not or maybe the truth is I would not. But today God used two women whose stories are similar to mine to allow me to mourn. There is healing in allowing yourself to mourn.

So today I cry – I mourn for my sisters who have had so many losses along this journey and once again, on an even deeper level, I mourn for my losses.

As I sit here, tears dried, asking God how can I help? What can I do? He reminded me of a truth He spoke to me several years ago when we first began this journey toward healing,hope and freedom.

He reminded me truths from Isaiah 61:1-7 from The Message….

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace— 
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
and foreigners to work your fields,
But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,”
honored as ministers of our God.
You’ll feast on the bounty of nations,
you’ll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
and your joy go on forever.

Isaiah 62:2b-5
You’ll get a brand-new name
straight from the mouth of God.
You’ll be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand,
a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God.
No more will anyone call you Rejected,
and your country will no more be called Ruined.
You’ll be called Hephzibah (My Delight),
and your land Beulah (Married),
Because God delights in you
and your land will be like a wedding celebration.
For as a young man marries his virgin bride,
so your builder marries you,
And as a bridegroom is happy in his bride,
so your God is happy with you.

My precious sisters, God gave me today the privilege of morning for you. My heart aches for what you have walked through. But this one thing I know, we were not alone in our abuse and pain. Our God was with us. I believe our Father in heaven mourned for our pain and cried out “you will not hurt my child and not suffer!” (see Matt 18:6-7)

I love you my sisters and I wrap my arms of love around you and I pray to our Father that he will continue the healing process in your lives as you seek HIS face.

5 Things You Should Know About Sexual Abuse

I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and as I have walked the journey of healing I have realized that there are those God called to walk with me. They entered into my suffering, my pain and helped me in the healing process. I had the help of both Biblical Counseling and friends, it truly took a community.

But there are others who tried to help, they tried to say the right things, but often added more pain. It’s not their fault. They didn’t understand. They didn’t know. I hope to shed some insight for those of you that God might be calling to walk with someone trying to journey through the healing process.

1. While the physical pain may no longer be there, we are experiencing much mental and spiritual pain. The physical pain of the abuse may be long gone but it’s important to understand that they still hurt. You may not see outward signs of hurt but the pain that is experienced deep within is real.  Most people have some stress reactions after a trauma but if an adult is still suffering from night terrors, depression, if they have trouble feeling emotions, and avoids things that remind them of the abuse then  they may be dealing with PTSD.

When someone is abused sexually it affects them in ways we don’t often understand. God created sex to be beautiful, to be enjoyed. Sex is to be between a husband and wife, through this intimate act they become one, they entered into a covenant. It was created to be deeply intimate so when it’s violent it tears they soul in a way that is ugly, and leaves deep scars.

2. Understand the experiences of every survivor is different. Just because you have a friend that was abused and seemingly has no issues or was healed easily doesn’t mean all survivors will be the same. The after affects of abuse will be different for the one that may have been molested once compared to one that was raped over and over for years. Both have been violated but the one who has been abused chronically will have much deeper issues and may take much longer to heal.

3. Our view of God is often seen through the lens of abuse. Seeing the truth about God is hard. It was very hard for me as I tried to reconcile a God who loves me and is everywhere to a God I saw that was just standing by doing nothing while the abuse happened. Many pray, and pray for it to stop, but God does not seem to hear. Yes we are believing lies, but it’s what we know and without being taught a right view of God we see God through the pain of abuse.

Plus when you are abused by a father figure you grow up believing that God is like your abuser. Our view of God is twisted and grossly out of focus. Even if we believe that God is good and loving it not believed personally. Meaning that God may be good and love others, but He is not good to me.

4. We need to see God’s love in and through you. Maybe you have walked along side someone already and you have spoke truth. They seem to understand  who God is in their head but it’s not getting to the heart. The truth doesn’t seem to be changing them.  There is a disconnect. Please be patient, keep loving them and speaking truth. But really embrace that He loved me was hard. It was hard until it was modeled before me. God used my husband and a few dear friends to show me the power of love. They modeled God’s love.

Survivors need to see Jesus with flesh on. So often we want to just speak truth, but we need to demonstrate love too. A survivor may have never been loved unconditionally. Love could mean pain, taking, and selfishness so it’s important that we see it modeled.

5. We need to see and understand the cross as it relates to our abuse. I can tell you from personal experience that this will come later in the healing process. While it is crucial to our healing process this is very hard. It’s hard truth to grasp. I remember when my counselor gave me the book When Gods Weeps to read, I almost threw it away. I didn’t want to read it. I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to understand God’s sovereignty. But I persevered and at the end of the book I still didn’t like it but I was better able to try to reason through it. Later I ask him why he didn’t give me the book earlier since it was so helpful. He responded by saying I wasn’t ready for it. It’s true I wouldn’t have been. So we must be careful at what point in the healing and at what point we are in the relationship we offer difficult truth.

Tread slowly and take your lead from the survivor. You can push, but gently and with love, lots of love. They must get to the point that they can wrestle with the truth of the cross because it’s there they are able to truly reconcile the truth of their abuse and a God who loves them and hates evil. It’s at the cross where we will see that the evil done to us is covered with the blood of  Jesus. It’s at the cross we see the holiness of God and we struggle to understand why God let it happen.

We need to be allowed to struggle at the cross. It’s at the cross we will deal with our own sins. We see that we are great sinners. It’s where we will deal with being sinned against. It’s at the cross we see evil and what it cost Jesus. It’s at the cross we find the infinite love of God. We find forgiveness. Forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of our abusers.

As a reminder, if you are walking with someone who is a survivor just be Jesus with skin on. Love them and keep loving them. Don’t give up on them. It’s not easy, I know it’s not. At times I was fearful that my friends would give up on me if I didn’t “get it” right away, but they never did, they just kept loving me. They showed me Jesus. They loved me with the love of Jesus.

A Reminder For The “Older Women”

She sat across from me, tears streaming down her face as she shared her story with me. A story of brokenness and pain. She was a young Christian mom of two precious babies, married to a godly man and yet there was a deep sadness about her. Her sadness allowed me to see into her heart, a heart that loved God, desired to be the woman God created her to be.

WomenTalkingI did not know her before this day and yet her story was all too familiar. It was a story I had heard far too often. It was my story. You see she had gone to others for help, but the advice had all been pretty much the same. “You need to renew your mind.” “You are believing lies. You need to think on truth.”

Before she went any further I took her hand in mine, looked her in the eyes and said, “Oh sweet girl you are wondering what are the lies and what is truth.” With tears pouring down once again she choked out the word, “yes.” Squeezing her hand I let her know I understood. I too had been there. I can still be there at times.

I don’t know if I will ever see this young mom again but my advice to her is the advice I wish I would have received as a twenty something young mom and wife. It wasn’t until my forties that someone finally took the time and invested in my life in order to help me understand the lies I was believing. Lies that I had heard my whole life that sounded like truth. Destructive words that had gone so deep into my heart that they had taken root and grown strong. These are the kind of lies that need help to see. We need others to help us expose them, to destroy them and then to replace them with truth.

There are two things I shared with her that day. There are two things she needs to know and we, as older women, need to remember.

The first thing I shared is that she needs to be able recognize what lies she believes about God, about herself and about her circumstances. She needs those in her life that she can trust to tell her when her thoughts are based on lies. She needs  to be willing to open up and share her thoughts in a safe place.

The second thing I told her is that she must read and study the word of God. His word is truth and the only way to really know truth is to know it for yourself. It’s not a practice that you do occasionally or haphazardly but a discipline that we pursue and seek after. Truth comes when we know and understand the character of God.

But what does this look like in the everyday?

In my life I have a couple of friends I can trust enough that I can call them and say, “Hey this is what is going through my head right now. Am I believing a lie? If I am what is the truth?” These sisters consider it a privilege to walk along with me, there is no judgment. They don’t make me feel stupid, instead they just love me and speak truth. They will take me to the word of God. They have helped me replace lies with truth. They have walked with me through it enough times that today as my knowledge of truth grows it becomes easier to recognize the lies. Lies become easy to spot when we know truth.

I left this young lady with two devotional type Bible Studies to consider doing in her quiet time. Both are written by Kay Arthur called Lord, I Want to Know You and Lord, Heal My Hurts. The first one is a study on the character of God, the second is a study on Jehovah Rapha, our Healer God. Both studies help you dig into the Bible and learn truth for yourself.

A few reminders to those who are leaders, mentors, or the “older women”.

 Do not just assume that they know what lies they believe.  Sometimes it requires getting involved in the messy part of life in order to help see and know the lies they believe loving their husbands and children. We need to walk with them and help them to see the lies and then show them what truth is.

Be patient with the one who is trying to see the lies she believes. Some lies are so ingrained that she may forget and will need constant reminding until she believes truth. Give them the same grace and love that you have received from Christ.

Finally, please, please stop telling them that they just need to “renew their minds” or “take captive their thoughts.” Yes, this is truth. It is what they need to do. Most likely they have heard it over and over . But what they really need is someone to love them enough to show them. They need those women in their life that will walk with them in love and truth.

We, as older women, who pour our lives into the younger generation, need to remember that not everyone understands or sees the lies behind what they are thinking or feeling. How will they know they need to replace it with truth if they don’t even know it’s a lie? So let us love them enough to walk  and talk with them instead of just talking to them.

 

 

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